NEW YORK— Tonight Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Members Karen Koslowitz, Mark Weprin and Rory Lancman will visit The Henry & Susie Orenstein Dining Room of Masbia in Rego Park, Queens, to prepare food and serve meals to hungry New Yorkers. The Masbia Soup Kitchen provides kosher meals to members of the community who are in need. With the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah beginning tomorrow, providing kosher food to those with religious dietary restrictions becomes an even more essential function in the community for Masbia.

For Fiscal Year 2015, the Council allocated $105,000 to Masbia to help continue operations and further serve the community. Included in this endowment to Masbia of Queens for the first time is $25,000 from the Speaker’s fund. This funding is part of a larger effort by the Council to bolster dwindling supplies in city food pantries, food banks, and soup kitchens. A total of $1.32 million was allocated to entities dedicated to feeding the hungry after fifty percent of New York City’s hunger-relief organizations reported having to turn away those seeking meals in 2013 due to inadequate resources.

“The Council is proud to sponsor hunger-relief organizations such as Masbia across the 5 boroughs,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Masbia plays an especially crucial role in ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to kosher meals and I thank Masbia and my colleagues for their continued dedication to fighting hunger in New York City.”

“Masbia has proven to be an essential addition to the neighborhoods of Rego Park and Forest Hills,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz. “You can see lines of people waiting to get a nutritious, hot kosher meal. On Thursdays, packages of food are distributed to sustain needy residents over a weekend.”
“Beyond those who keep kosher, the needs of New Yorkers in need is far different than most other places in the country,” said Alexander Rapaport, MASBIA cofounder . “We are thankful of the support of Speaker Mark-Viverito, along with the entire New York City Council, on making kosher emergency food a priority.”

“Hunger does not discriminate – and the high cost of Kosher food means that many of the Jewish poor face additional hardship. Last year, Food Bank For New York City distributed food for 4.6 million Kosher meals through our network of Kosher member charities,” said Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. “Every September, during national Hunger Action Month, we Go Orange to End Hunger™ – a citywide call to action and awareness to address the need in every community in this city. On this eve of Rosh Hashanah, as we look forward to greeting the new year, we commend Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the City Council for taking up the call and reminding New Yorkers that hunger knows many faces and seasons.”